Cuba's Struggle for Freedom - American Minute with Bill Federer

Cuba's Struggle for Freedom

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Slavery began in Caribbean in the 1500's, predominantly for working on sugar plantations.
Many slaves were native American in the 16th century, brought in from Ireland in the 17th century, or purchased in enormous numbers from Muslim slave markets in Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.
On Haiti, slaves revolted against French control in 1792, and in 1807, the U.S. and Britain outlawed the importation of slaves, but slavery continued in Cuba.
President James Buchanan wrote December 19, 1859:
"When a market for African slaves shall no longer be furnished in Cuba ... Christianity and civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom."
In 1868, a revolt was begun by a wealthy Cuban sugar farmer named Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, called Padre de la Patria (Father of the Country).
Céspedes freed his slaves and began Cuba's first war for independence -- the Ten Years War -- against the oppressive government of Spain. He stated:
"Citizens: that sun you can now see raising above the Turquino Peak has come to illuminate the first day of Cuba's freedom and independence."
Freed slaves joined together with criollos -- those of Spanish ancestry born in Cuba -- to fight for freedom and to end slavery.
Similar to America''s Declaration of Independence, Céspedes was one of the signers of the "10th of October Manifesto," 1868, a translation of which reads:
"When rebelling ... against ... Spanish tyranny we want to indicate to the world the reasons for our resolution.
Spain governs us with iron and blood;
-it imposes ... taxes at will;
-it (takes from) us ... all political, civil and religious freedom;
-it has put us under military watch in days of peace ... (and they) catch, exile and execute without .... any proceedings or laws;
-it prohibits (us from) freely assembling, (unless) under the (presence) of military leaders; and
-it declares (as) rebels (those who want) remedy for so many evils ..."
The Manifesto continued:
"Spain loads us with hungry employees who live from our patrimony and consume the product of ours work.
So that we do not know our rights, it maintains us in ... ignorance; and so that we do not learn to exert it, it keeps us away from the administration of ... public thing(s) ...
It forces us to maintain an expensive ... army, whose unique use is to repress and to humiliate us.
Its system of customs is so perverse that we (would have) already perished ... (had it not been for) the fertility of our ground ...
It prevents us (from) writing ... and it (hinders) intellectual progress ...
It has promised to improve our condition, and ... it has deceived ... us, and it (has) left us (only an) appeal to the arms to defend our properties, to protect our lives and to save our honor.
To the God of our consciousness we appeal, and to the good faith of the civilized nations ..."
The 10th of October Manifesto concluded:
"We aspire to (have) popular sovereignty and ... universal suffrage.
We want to enjoy the freedom for whose use God created the man.
We profess sincerely the dogma of ... brotherhood ... tolerance and justice, and consider all men, equal, and ... not be excluded from its benefits; nor even the Spaniards, if they decide to live peacefully among us.
We want ... (to) take part in the formation of the laws, and in the distribution and investment of the contributions.
We want to abolish ... slavery and compensate whoever is harmed.
We want freedom of meeting, freedom of the press and freedom of ... conscience, and
We request ... respect (of) the inalienable rights of ... man, (the) foundation of ... independence and the greatness of (our) towns.
We want to remove from the yoke of Spain and to become a free and independent nation.
If Spain recognizes our rights, (it) will have in Cuba an affectionate daughter; if it persists in subjugating ... us, we are resolute to die before (we will) be under his domination."
President Ulysses S. Grant stated December 2, 1872:
"Slavery in Cuba is ... a terrible evil ... It is greatly to be hoped that ... Spain will voluntarily adopt ... emancipation ... in sympathy with the other powers of the Christian and civilized world."
President Grant said December 1, 1873:
"Several thousand persons illegally held as slaves in Cuba ...
The slaveholders of Havana ... are vainly striving to stay the march of ideas which has terminated slavery in Christendom, Cuba only excepted."
In 1878, the Spanish Government crushed the revolt, ending "The Ten Years War" in which over 200,000 died.
Another "Little War" took place in 1879.
Under international pressure, Spain ended slavery by Royal decree in 1886.
In 1895, open rebellion against Spain broke out in Cuba.
Spain sent Governor Valeriano Weyler to smash freedom-loving Cubans.
Weyler rounded up nearly 300,000 Cubans and forced them into crowded concentration camps.
This policy may have been copied from the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress which passed the 1830 Indian Removal Act, authorizing Federal troops to force Cherokee Indians into FEMA-style camps before marching them to Oklahoma.
Concentration camps were expanded during America's Civil War, where 215,000 Southerners were held -- 26,000 dying in captivity; and 195,000 Northerners held -- 30,000 dying in captivity, such as in the Andersonville Camp.
Britain, during the Second Boer War, 1899-1902, forced both White and Black South Africans into concentration camps.
This policy evolved into:
  • Imperial Japan' concentration camps for Filipinos and others;
  • Hitler's National Socialist Workers Party camps for Jews and others;
  • Pol Pot's Communist Khmer Rouge torture camp & "killing fields";
  • Chinese and North Korean labor camps; and
  • Stalin's Union of Soviet Socialist Republics "gulag" camps.
In Cuba, between 1896-1897, nearly a third of country's population was in concentration camps.
With cesspools of raw sewage, 225,000 died of starvation, exposure, dysentery, and diseases, like yellow fever.
Pleas for help reached the United States to intervene.
In 1898, the U.S.S. Maine was in Havana's Harbor and it blew up under suspicious circumstances on February 15, beginning the Spanish-American War.
On April 20, 1898, Congress wrote:
"The abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the Island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian civilization ...
Resolved ... the people of the Island of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free."
On May 1, Commodore Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay.
On July 3, the United States, aided by Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, captured Santiago, Cuba, and the war soon ended with Cuba's independence from Spain.
On July 6, 1898, President William McKinley wrote:
"With the nation's thanks let there be mingled ... prayers that our gallant sons may be shielded from harm ... on the battlefield and in the clash of fleets ...
while they are striving to uphold their country's honor."
The Treaty officially ending the Spanish-American War was signed December 10, 1898.
President McKinley wrote:
"At a time ... of the ... glorious achievements of the naval and military arms ... at Santiago de Cuba,
it is fitting that we should pause and ... reverently bow before the throne of divine grace and give devout praise to God, who holdeth the nations in the hollow of His Hands."
Many wanted Cuba to be under the authority of the United States, similar to Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii or Panama.
Not wanting to be imperialistic, America instead recognized Cuba's independence on May 20, 1902, though it maintained a naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
In 1902, Estrada Palma became Cuba's first President.
Unfortunately, soon after, in 1905, a revolt occurred against Palma.
Liberals burned down government buildings.
After an attempted assassination, liberal leader José Miguel Gómez fled to New York City demanding U.S. intervention:
"The United States has a direct responsibility concerning what is going on in Cuba ... and is under the duty of putting an end to this situation."
In September of 1906, Cuban President Palma sent an urgent plea for help to President Theodore Roosevelt, who sent to Cuba the U.S. Secretary of War William Howard Taft.
When Estrada resigned, Roosevelt appointed Taft as Provisional Governor of Cuba.
Many Cubans petitioned to have their country become part of the United States.
Taft's replacement, Charles Magoon, allowed seeds of racial division to grow, as the Havana Post wrote in 1909: "His work here ... caused two blades of grass to grow where but one had grown before."
In 1908, José Miguel Gómez was elected President.
At the same time, an Independent Party of Color was founded which increased division among Cubans along racial lines for decades to come, resulting in demonstrations, riots and rebellion.
Gómez crushed the race rebellion in 1912, with such force that it alienated most blacks from political involvement.
Corruption grew under Gómez, with his government using the news media to push his controlling agenda.
In 1924, a new candidate arose, Gerardo Machado, who was so popular that he was the Presidential candidate for all three of the major political parties.
Machado brought honesty, stability, and foreign investment, such as American hotels, restaurants and tourism.
Cuba experienced a period of prosperity.
Conditions continued to improve until the 1929 Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression.
Collapsing sugar prices led to protests.
Machado broke his promise to serve only one term, which violated the Cuban Constitution.
In his attempts to stabilize the country, he censored free speech and used repressive police state tactics, including suspected assassinations of opposition leaders.
After several attempts on his life, Machado fled to the Bahamas in 1933, and then Miami, where he died in exile.
Taking advantage of the unrest, communists began infiltrating student groups at the University of Havana, and formed the Cuban Communist Party.
In August of 1933, Cubans elected Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada, the son of the "Padre de la Patria (Father of the Country) who led Cuba in 1868.
Unfortunately, he only served one month before being forced out by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista and the Democrat Socialist Coalition.
Batista appointed himself chief of the military.
Over the next seven years, though there were a half-dozen presidents, Batista clandestinely ran the nation's politics.
The President in 1939 was Federico Laredo Brú, infamously remembered for turning away the MS St. Louis, May 27, 1939, which was carrying 930 Jews fleeing Hitler's persecutions.
Batista was elected Cuba's President in 1940.
Batista ruled Cuba 1940 to 1944, after which he moved to Florida.
Then Ramon Grau San Martin was elected President, followed by Carlos Prío Socarrás in 1948.
In 1952, Batista returned to Cuba and formed the Progressive Action Party.
He ran for President again.
Facing defeat, he staged a coup and set up a military dictatorship.
He also began working closely with the American mafia.
At this time, casinos and baseball brought tourism to Cuba, resulting in two-thirds of the country enjoying the highest standard of living in Latin America.
The remaining third, though, suffered in rural poverty and unemployment, creating a seedbed for unrest.
In 1956, Fidel Castro stirred up and organized the rural poor to begin a rebellion.
Batista cracked down with arrests, imprisonments, and executions.
Senator John F. Kennedy stated October 6, 1960:
"Batista murdered 20,000 Cubans in seven years ... and he turned Democratic Cuba into a complete police state – destroying every individual liberty."
Castro was hailed as a rising leader who would stamp out corruption. He was even invited to speak at Harvard University.
In 1959, Castro forced Batista to flee.
Once in power, though, Castro ignored his promises that he would give citizens equality, and instead set up a communist dictatorship.
He seized thousands of acres of farmland from Cuban citizens and arrested anti-revolutionaries.
An observable pattern in history is, that whenever a tyrannical government is overthrown, unless citizens have been trained in Judeo-Christian principles of self-restraint, the country succumbs to internal chaos, out of which a worse tyrannical dictator seizes power.
Orwell explained in 1984 (part 2, chapter 9):
"In each variant of socialism that appeared from about 1900 onwards, the aim of establishing liberty and equality was more and more openly abandoned.
The new movements ... had the conscious aim of perpetuating unfreedom and inequality ... arrest progress and freeze history at a chosen moment ...
The High would be able to maintain their position permanently."
Castro removed anyone associate with the old leadership, imprisoned dissidents, and made agreements with the Soviets.
CIA Director Allen Dulles and CIA planner Richard Bissell arranged the Bay of Pigs invasion which failed.
Kennedy fired them and threatened to “shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”
Kennedy condemned Castro's communism, stating October 6, 1960:
"Two years ago, in September of 1958 – bands of bearded rebels descended from Cuba's Sierra Maestra Mountains and began their long march on Havana – a march which ended in the overthrow of the brutal, bloody, and despotic dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
The slogans, the manifestos, and the broadcasts of this revolution reflected the deepest aspirations of the Cuban people.
They promised individual liberty and free elections. They promised an end to harsh police state tactics. They promised a better life for a people long oppressed by both economic and political tyranny ..."
Kennedy continued:
"But in the two years since that revolution swept Fidel Castro into power, those promises have all been broken.
There have been no free elections – and there will be none as long as Castro rules.
All political parties – with the exception of the Communist Party – have been destroyed.
... All political dissenters have been executed, imprisoned, or exiled.
All academic freedom has been eliminated ...
All major newspapers and radio stations have been seized.
... And all of Cuba is in the iron grip of a communist-oriented police state.
Castro and his gang have betrayed ... the Cuban people."
Castro's main enforcer was Che Guevara, who wrote:
"We executed many people by firing squad without knowing if they were fully guilty. At times, the revolution cannot be stop to conduct much investigation ...
... Hatred as an element of the struggle ... transforming (the soldier) into an effective, violent, selective, and cold killing machine.
Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy ...
I'd like to confess ... I discovered that I really like killing."
Thousands of Cubans, including church leaders, were tortured and executed by Castro's men.
By some estimates, over 100,000 were ruthlessly killed.
David P. Goldman wrote in "Fidel Castro's Mass Murder by the Numbers" (PJ Media, November 28, 2016):
"Fidel Castro shed blood on a scale unimaginable in American terms.
His butchers executed perhaps 15,000 prisoners ...
... British historian Hugh Thomas, in his study Cuba for the pursuit of freedom stated that 'perhaps' 5,000 executions had taken place by 1970, while The World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators ascertained that there had been 2,113 political executions between the years of 1958–1967.
... Professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, Rudolph J. Rummel estimated the number of political executions between 4,000 and 33,000 from 1958–87, with a mid-range of 15,000 ...
Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot killed more people in relative terms. After that, it's hard to find a tyrant with a bigger body count than Fidel.
To speak of him with anything but a curse is an insult to the memory of his victims."
On February 7, 2020, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews addressed a panel after Democrat Presidential debates where some of the candidates espoused socialism.
Matthews stated:
"The issue of this campaign, it is that word 'socialism' ... Younger people like it.
Those of us like me, who grew up in the Cold War and saw some aspects of it if you're visiting places like Vietnam like I have, and seen countries like Cuba, being there.
I've seen what socialism is like, and I don't like it. OK? It's not only not free, it doesn't frickin' work.
... My own views of the word socialist ... go back to the early nineteen fifties ... I remember the Cold War ...
I believe that if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones being executed!
And certain other people would have been there, cheering, OK?"
Two week after Matthews made those comments, MSNBC found an excuse to end his 23 year employment.
Leftist writers awkwardly defend racist statements made by Che Guevara in his 1952 The Motorcycle Diaries:
“The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing ...
The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations.”
In 1959, Guevara wrote:
"We're going to do for blacks exactly what blacks did for the revolution. By which I mean: nothing."
In 1964, Castro worked with the KGB to create the National Liberation Army of Columbia (FARC), and the National Liberation Army of Bolivia (ELN).
Che Guevara traveled the world exporting socialist revolution, including the African Congo and Bolivia, where he was captured and executed on October 9, 1967.
During Castro's reign, over 1.5 million Cubans fled to the United States.
President Reagan stated:
"What's happening in Cuba is not a failure of the Cuban people. It's a failure of Fidel Castro and the Communists."
The United States reopened its Embassy in Havana, Cuba, on July 20, 2015.
Castro died November 25, 2016.
Though socialism promised equality, the average citizen in Cuba made $20 a month, while Castro's personal worth was estimated at $900 million.
Cuba continued to spread socialism to other Latin and South American nations.
FoxNews reported September 24, 2019:
"Socialist policies of Maduro and his close ties to leaders in Cuba along with the practice of detaining political prisoners and reports of extrajudicial killings by death squads linked to leaders in Caracas.
'According to a recent report by the United Nation Human Rights Council, women in Venezuela stand in line for 10 hours every day waiting for food, over 15,000 people have been detained as political prisoners, modern day death squads are carrying out thousands of extrajudicial killings,' Trump said.
... He added: 'The dictator Maduro is a Cuban puppet, protected by Cuban bodyguards, hiding from his own people, while Cubans plunder Venezuela's oil wealth to sustain its own corrupt communist rule.'"
Before socialists took over, Venezuela was prosperous, as FoxNews added:
"Home to the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela was for decades an economic leader in the western hemisphere and, despite a massive gap between rich and poor, was a major destination for neighboring Colombians and other Latin Americans fleeing their less prosperous and more troubled homelands."
In early July, 2021, thousands of Cubans demonstrated for "Freedom."
Similar to demonstrations for freedom in Hong Kong, 2019-2020, the United States did nothing of substance to support those calling for freedom, and as a result, the brutal regimes ruthlessly cracked down.
The New York Times reported (July 28, 2021):
"In a remarkable act of defiance, thousands of Cubans ... poured into the streets two weeks ago — chanting 'Down with the dictatorship!'"
After this, the Times added:
"Hundreds have been detained, advocates say, and an untold number are still being held. The police have staked out the homes of activists ...
'At any moment they could show up at my door,' said Mr. González, 37. 'It’s a fear that’s with me from the moment I wake up.'"
The Times continued:
"Cubans, spurred by a severe economic crisis ... in a rare wave of public rallies ... hoped the act of defiance would force the island’s authoritarian rulers to embrace political and economic reforms.
Instead, the response by authorities has been draconian ... Police officers have gone door-to-door making detentions, human rights activists and protesters said ...
Protesters have been convicted in quick trials that don’t require the presence of a defense lawyer, according to human rights activists."
FoxNews reported July 12, 2021:
"U.S. Senator Marco Rubio sent Biden a letter saying that the current protests in Cuba 'are not just about current economic shortages' but about 'longstanding and deliberate actions taken by the dictatorship to stymy the economic prosperity and political freedom of the Cuban people.'"
Senator Rubio continued:
"60 years of 'socialist dictatorship and oppression, as well as extraordinary courage from the Cuban people, have led to this historic moment ...
Now more than ever, the Cuban people need our support as they fight for their freedom."
As is was declared by Congress and President William McKinley in 1898:
"Resolved ... the people of the Island of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free."
American Minute is a registered trademark of William J. Federer. Permission granted to forward, reprint, or duplicate.
Image Credits: Public Domain; Remember the Maine! And Don't Forget the Starving Cubans!; Date: May 7, 1898; Artist: Victor Gillam (1867–1920); Collection: Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Source: Originally published in Judge (New York), May 7, 1898, volume 34, page 312; ;!_And_Don%27t_Forget_the_Starving_Cubans!_-_Victor_Gillam_(cropped).jpg

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  • Kevin Long on

    A Powerful article, I have not seen any published article as informative as this, and unbiased. Thank You Mr. Federer

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